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Steven Wilson - The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories) CD (album) cover


Steven Wilson


Crossover Prog

4.28 | 1940 ratings

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1 stars Am I the only person who thinks Steven Wilson owes a fat royalty cheque to King Crimson?

I first got into Porcupine Tree at the Fear of a Blank Planet disc and have been an avid follower of all things PT and SW's solo discs up to this one (In Absentia ranking highest). SW has carefully crafted fan-boy fervor among audio aficionados through his 5.1 mixes, unorthodox instrument choices/time signatures/personal music choices. I counted myself as one of them, until this disc. Now, I feel like a disillusioned deacon of the church of Wilson. The excitement and promise of the next project after the musical genius of Insurgentes and Grace For Drowning fell flat on its face with the best track being a throwaway from the Grace For Drowning sessions (Luminol).

Even though the homage to King Crimson began with Grace For Drowning, it was given a pass due to the brilliance and amazement. I didn't mind the obvious KC rip offs, and even lauded the effort. The Raven sounds like an attempt to blend 70's prog with bad 90's rock.

The disc moves from the promise of Luminol to the banality of Drive Home. Drive Home... if Wilson was trying to describe the feeling he gets when he is driving home after a long time away and is just sick and tired of being on the road and just want to get home...then I suppose it was a success. But I have had enough of those feeling to not want to have to live through that same feeling any more than I have to.

Holy Drinker starts well - the 70's influence is strong and it's great. By the time the lyrics start I feel magically transported back to the lame-o musical landscape that was the 90's. The solo break and we are back to the 70's and it's good...but not brilliant. I've heard Yes before.

The Pin Drop is a decent, middle of the disc filler type song. Nothing bad, but nothing great either. Well, ok the guitar solo is interesting to guitarists. But I doubt that aspect is picked up by non-axe folk.

The Watchmaker...just skip this until the 4:00 mark. Beyond that it ranks up there with Luminol. There are great vocal harmonies and the piano and guitar are killer. By the time the bass kicks in at the 9:00 mark I'm pumped for some serious musical masturbation. It doesn't completely satisfy my longing for the crescendo I hoped for, but it's still a good track.

The Raven That Refused to Sing is a "nice" song. It definitely has a end-of-disc feel to it. A nice conclusion. But "nice" is not what I like from Mr. Wilson. I prefer the edgier material that is Harmony Korine, Salvaging, Veneno Para Las Hadas, Raider II, Only Child, Get All You Deserve, Sectarian, and Index. I could list many more.

Tragically, Steven Wilson may be the victim of his own demise. Having built such a strong expectation, one can only out-do himself so many times.

key_of_eh | 1/5 |


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